Whether you are struggling with chronic health issues or want to feel your best, an integrative dietitian can help you find the right path. An integrative dietetic nutritionist combines medical and nutritional therapy training with integrative and functional medicine modules.
This method takes a comprehensive approach to a client’s well-being. This includes their food choices, diet, lifestyle, gut bacteria, and thoughts and beliefs.
Personalized Nutrition Counseling
Unlike the many “one-size-fits-all” diet plans available online, personalized nutrition counseling goes beyond food and body measurements to assess your unique lifestyle, preferences, goals, and health needs. You will receive individualized nutritional recommendations to help you manage food allergies, improve gastrointestinal health, reduce inflammation, and more.
The goal is to create a sustainable plan that addresses multiple aspects of your health, including the emotional, mental, and physical. You will collaborate to incorporate various nutrition therapies, including whole foods, tailored supplements, and mind-body modalities.
A healthy gut environment is central to a functioning immune system. Over 70% of your immune cells live in the gut! An integrative dietitian will teach you how to optimize your digestive health through dietary changes.
An integrative dietitian, for instance, Radiate Nutrition, can recommend herbal supplements that may help reduce the side effects of specific medical treatments, such as chemotherapy. They also know how to combine herbs with pharmaceuticals and other dietary supplements safely.
A nutritionist with a holistic specialization can take Hippocrates’ admonition to heart: “Let food be thy medicine.” This approach goes beyond the essential macronutrients and micronutrients to discern what specific nutritional deficiency a client is experiencing.
An RDN who practices integrative functional nutrition can look at all body systems to find the root cause of a health concern, utilizing botanical medicine, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification pathways, and stress management techniques. You can learn more about this emerging specialty practice group through the Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine Dietetic Practice Group.
The digestive system breaks down food and liquids into their chemical components–carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals–that the body can use as nutrients or to build and repair cells. Digestion begins in the mouth when chewed food passes through a ring of muscle that separates the throat from the stomach, where it is mixed with digestive juices and acid.
The bacteria in the gut (also called flora) help digest foods and act as a defense against disease. When the gastrointestinal tract is out of balance, symptoms can manifest as heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, and constipation.
Many health and nutrition professionals embrace Hippocrates’ sentiment, “Let food be thy medicine.” A newer discipline, called integrative functional, holistic, or alternative nutrition, is based on this principle. It uses food and supplements to treat a variety of gastrointestinal, autoimmune, and immune imbalances that contribute to chronic illness.
Immune System Support
The immune system is the body’s defense against diseases, from common flu viruses to more severe conditions like cancer. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep help strengthen the immune system. Vaccinations are another essential way to build immunity against certain illnesses.
A well-functioning immune system requires vital nutrients to build protective antibodies, proteins, and enzymes. A well-rounded, whole-food diet of vegetables, fruits, legumes, high-quality proteins, and healthy fats helps support immune health.
Integrative dietitians consider many factors when recommending immune-boosting nutrition strategies. For example, they might discuss how sleep patterns, stress levels, and the quality of relationships impact the immune system. They also recommend specific vitamins and supplements to boost immune function. They honor that no two people are exactly alike and create nutrition plans that address each patient’s unique needs.
Stress is a normal part of life, but chronic stress can make it hard to get enough sleep and lead to unhealthy habits such as overeating or skipping meals. Finding healthy ways to cope with stress is vital to long-term wellness, such as talking it out with a trusted friend or practicing calming activities like meditation.
Functional integrative nutrition is a new and exciting area of practice that focuses on using food, vitamins, and herbal supplements to heal the body. An integrative dietitian certified in this discipline goes beyond simply asking clients to log their foods. Instead, it looks at multiple factors that impact health, such as hormones, gut microbiome, and phytonutrients. This approach is a great way to help your clients achieve optimal wellness.